The makings of a law journal
Judah Marans '11 founds a new law journal
Published: Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 23:05
Last summer, while pondering how he could get hands-on experience in the world of legal studies, Judah Marans '11 came up with an innovative idea: to create a Brandeis law journal. The journal would be designed to make current law issues more approachable and to give undergraduate students a rare opportunity to become immersed in legal studies.
This way, by the time students apply to law school, they will have already been exposed to the legal world.
This Wednesday, the expected release date of the Brandeis Law Journal, Marans' idea will become reality. The journal, which has 10 articles and seven features and is 140 pages long, will be one of the only undergraduate law journals in the country.
It has a retail price of $4.95 but will be free for Brandeis students.
According to the preface to the Journal, written by Marans, the Journal's founder and editor-in-chief, the journal is "a publication with articles by members of Brandeis University about the law" which seeks to provide undergraduate writers and editors with an opportunity to learn hands-on about legal study.
Marans says he wanted to create the journal in order to further develop his interest in law. He says that a student interested in journalism can work in a college newspaper before heading for, say, The New York Times; yet a student interested in legal studies has comparatively few opportunities to advance in his or her interests. The lack of opportunities led Marans to take the initiative to create those opportunities.
Marans, who has bright blue eyes and a friendly face, started working on the Journal during summer 2009.
At first he wrote a constitution, along with his hopes and goals for the publication. He created a Facebook group and "did some heavy advertising."
Next came the countless hours Marans spent sending e-mails to Legal Studies professors, alumni and students. With continued perseverance, Marans finally got Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz involved.
According to Marans, Reinharz saw the passion involved with the project and thus agreed to write the introduction for the inaugural issue.
In the Journal's introduction, he writes, "The Brandeis Law Journal offers an opportunity for all students, not just those interested in formal professional legal training, to contribute to thoughtful and reasoned debate and discussion on some of the most fascinating and challenging issues of our day."
As Marans explained how the project continued to grow exponentially, his eyes widened with pride. He explained that at first it was a one-man show -but that didn't last long.
Now, the Law Journal is directed by an official board, whom he recruited by advertising the Journal on campus and conducting interviews with applicants. There are now 16 people on the journal's board.
Mark Garibyan '11, who is communications director of the board, says "I am both confident and excited. I think we did a really great job with the inaugural issue -we brought highly respected academics to contribute as well as started off our publication with a very interesting and engaging set of articles and features."
Even students not involved in legal studies benefited from the opportunity to write in a law journal. Contributor to the journal Adam Cohen '12 wrote an article about the importance of a law journal to Brandeis.
"I chose to write for it because I'm a History major, and I think there is something very applicable [about] law and history in society," says Cohen.
Cohen also found the editors to be helpful.
"I had a lot of leeway to do what I wanted. The editors were very nice," he says.
Because the journal is meant to cater to all audiences, it includes features in addition to purely law-related articles,
One of the features in the first issue is titled "'Sexting,' You, & The Law." It deals with problems such as underage girls sending nude pictures of themselves to older boyfriends through text messages.
Marans says that articles like this "show how legal issues don't need to be up there on the ivory tower, inaccessible."
The article was written by Amber Kornreich '12, the chief features editor, with the features board.
Another article features various professors and administrators. In this feature, titled "What is Law." each professor and administrator contributes a short answer to the question "What is law?" from his or her individual perspective.
In response to this question, Mark Collins, vice president for campus operations, answered, "It's what allows one to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. But that's not true, because there are some laws that I just don't think are right. And therein lies the dilemma."
Prof. Richard Gaskins (AMST) wrote the closing remarks to the journal, which state, "The study of law allows Brandeis students to deepen their disciplinary work by engaging with public values and conflicts that emerge whenever liberal knowledge meets the human dimension."
Marans and Garibyan have implied that though they are excited and most definitely would like to see this project continue to grow, as Garibyan stated, "There is nothing set in stone yet." In other words, their vision for the project remains and could potentially grow in different directions.
However, the board has made sure to reach out to prefrosh on Admitted Students Day in order assure the continuation of the Journal.
"As long as people read it, then it will be [here] for a long time," says Cohen.
Editor's note: Jenn Craig '13, the Law Journal's chief copy editor, and Ariel Glickman '13, one of the Journal's features editors, are members of the Justice Copy staff.